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Three Strangers (1946)

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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 967 users  
Reviews: 31 user | 12 critic

Three strangers, each with a serious problem in their lives, share a sweepstakes ticket which they wished upon together before a Chinese idol.

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(original screenplay), (original screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Crystal Shackleford
...
Johnny West
...
Icey Crane
Robert Shayne ...
Bertram Fallon
Marjorie Riordan ...
Janet Elliott
Arthur Shields ...
Prosecutor
Rosalind Ivan ...
Lady Rhea Belladon
John Alvin ...
Junior Clerk
Peter Whitney ...
Timothy Delaney aka Gabby
...
David Shackleford
Clifford Brooke ...
Senior Clerk
Doris Lloyd ...
Mrs. Proctor
Edit

Storyline

According to a legend, if three strangers gather before an idol of Kwan Yin (the Chinese goddess of fortune and destiny) on the night of the Chinese New Year and make a common wish, Kwan Yin will open her eyes and her heart and grant the wish. In London 1938 on the Chinese New Year, Crystal Shackleford has such an idol and decides to put the legend to the test. She picks two random strangers off the street, and puts the proposition to them. They decide that an ideal wish would be for a sweepstakes ticket they buy equal shares in to be a winner. After all, everyone needs money and a pot is very easy to divide equally, right? Written by Ken Yousten <kyousten@bev.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

BREATHTAKING SUSPENSE - THRILLS! (original ad - all caps)

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 January 1946 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

3 Desconhecidos  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Alfred Hitchcock showed early interest in directing. See more »

Quotes

David Shackleford: [to Crystal] You only want what you can't have as long as you can't have it.
See more »

Soundtracks

I Dreampt I Dwelt in Marble Halls
(uncredited)
Written by Michael Balfe and Alfred Bunn (1843)
Played by Johnny on broken record in prison cell.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Another dusky Huston jewel....
8 October 2004 | by (A skootch NW of Hollywood, USA) – See all my reviews

It was over 20 years ago that I first encountered this small cinematic treasure, on the now-defunct indie KHJ-TV, channel 9 in Los Angeles, but it was not at all by accident. Having been enthralled by the magic that is "Casablanca" some years before, I had been seeking out other films like it made by Warner Bros. in the late 30s, 40s and early 50s. Specifically I was after more work by that classic's storied supporting cast: Paul Henried, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Claude Rains, S.Z. Sakall and Joy Page, among others.

"Three Strangers" gathers two of those and weaves them into a unexpectedly amoral tale of the cost of reversing fortune. Lorre plays a fallen gentleman who fallen into a bottle and thus into some dicey company, while Greenstreet plays a solicitor who's been a tad too speculative with his trust accounts. The underregarded Geraldine Fitzgerald joins them as the mysterious woman who randomly gathers the other two off a London street to see if they'll take a chance on an ancient Chinese proverb coming true.

"Three Strangers" if anything goes "Casablanca" and that other Huston/Lorre/Greenstreet classic, "The Maltese Falcon," one better in the world-weariness department, with moral ambiguities and ambivalent characters straight out of films noir made five years later. Unlike those other two films, though, there's little likability to be found in the lead characters' roguishness --- save perhaps for Lorre, who gets redeemed by a "good" woman's love at the end.

Yet that very fact makes "Three Strangers" play out like a much more modern film (like one from the early 1970s, say), rendering it an intriguing admixture of old-style character-driven plotting and contemporary moral waywardness and antiheroism.


11 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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URGENT: It's on TCM on 3.11.08 at 11:00AM!!!! john_arbolino
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